Ryan Pravato of College Fast Break is the RTC correspondent for the Summit League.
The Southern Utah Thunderbirds are in first place. Enjoy all of the perks that go with it, Thunderbird fans. But remember, Duke football got out to a cute little start this season and that didn’t end so well, did it?
This unfamiliar madness all started on Tuesday (Dec. 2) as the Southern Utah Thunderbirds kicked off Summit League conference play at home with an upset of epic proportion over Oakland. Alright, relax self, so maybe Oakland isn’t the UNC of the Summit League, but the 82-66 victory was somewhat of a surprise considering the Thunderbirds came into the game on a 4 game losing streak and, frankly, Southern Utah head coach Roger Reid wasn’t exactly feeling ecstatic about the match up with Oakland prior to the game,
“The match up is not good, I could go down a list player for player and it’s not good. They have a lot better talent than we do. But talent alone doesn’t win games. I could be the guy who puts spin on it, and say we expect to win these games, but if you ask me, how do we match up against them, we don’t.”
That’s why they play the games, folks.
It’s not entirely fair to blame Oakland too much for the Southern Utah debacle. It was the Grizzlies 8th straight game away from home and all of them have been without last season’s leading scorer and rebounder Derick Nelson.
Southern Utah’s domination of conference competition continued on Thursday night (Dec.4) as they beat up on the visiting IPFW Mastodons, 78-62. Southern Utah’s leading scorer Davis Baker had his fourth 20+ point effort of the season with 21 on 6-13 from the field and a Steve Nash-like 7-7 from the charity stripe. Forward Tyler Quinney came back down to earth after his 35 point explosion against Oakland, scoring a more reasonable 12.
The Tipsy Team has probably been the difference in both of these drubbings. Yep. Has. To. Be.
Other Dec. 4th conference games
Oakland @ UMKC
The gunslingers of UMKC launched 39 threes on Oakland, making 14 of them, but it didn’t really matter. Oakland took care of the ball (9 miscues) and collected 9 steals and 7 blocks. Oakland also got quite the performance of 6’11 sophomore Keith Benson as he scored a career high 21 and swatted 4 shots. Oakland freshman point guard Matt Samuels also scored a career high, pitching in with 10 points off the bench.
Oakland improves to 1-1 in conference play and 4-5 overall.
UMKC falls to 0-1 in conference play and 3-6 overall.
Oral Roberts @ North Dakota State
The conference favorites played a pretty tight game in the first half as Oral Roberts only led by a bucket at the half. But the NDSU Bison rallied back and scored 55 big ones, led by seniors Ben Woodside (24 pts) and Brett Winkleman (20 pts). Oddly enough, at least I think so anyway, only 5 players scored for NDSU and only a total of 3 shots were taken by NDSU players other than the 5 who scored. Got that?
I swear I’m not drinking* right now.
NDSU improves to 1-0 in conference play and 3-2 overall.
Oral Roberts falls to 0-1 in conference play and 1-5 overall (still seeking first DI win this season).
Centenary @ South Dakota State
The big news in this game was free throw shootin’. SDSU hit 30-39 while Centenary hit 11-20. SDSU sophomore forward Anthony Cardova recorded his 2nd double-double of the season with 15 and 10.
SDSU improves to 1-0 in conference play and 4-4 overall.
Centenary falls to 0-1 in conference and 2-7 overall.
WIU & IUPUI
Western Illinois and IUPUI will open their conference slates by battling it out on Dec. 6th.
IUPUI comes into the opener with a 4 game winning streak and a finally healthy Gary Patterson.
Western Illinois squeaked out a 2 point victory over Texas-Pan America just recently. Senior guard David Dubois is averaging a shade under 17 ppg.
* the NDSU Kool-Aid